Life of the Library

What’s new?

Before you rock your vote…RESEARCH YOUR VOTE!

posted: , by Sonya Durney
tags: Adults | Government


Are you registered, researched and ready?

The Caucuses are coming to Maine this weekend!

The Maine Republican Party will gather on Saturday the 5th and the Maine Democratic Party will gather  on Sunday the 6th. The League of Women Voters have you covered on everything you need to know to prepare for the weekend!


The general election for 2016 will be on Tuesday, November 8th.

 How do you register to vote? You fill out a voter registration card.  You can register until/on Election Day.  You must register in person and must show ID and proof of where you live.

Where do you register to vote? You can register to vote at your town office or city hall, or through any Motor Vehicle branch office. Completed voter registration cards may be mailed or hand delivered to your town office or city hall, or  to the Secretary of State’s Office in Augusta.

If you’ve already registered, but wish to verify your registration, contact the Maine Bureau of Corporations, Elections and Commissions or your town office or city hall.

Also, make sure you know where you go to cast your vote; find your local polling place.

Research the candidates and issues -

  • Search for news articles via MARVEL! Maine’s Virtual Library. (with your PPL card) Use this resource for access to the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, many other national newspapers in addition to many political and current events magazines such as Foreign Policy, The Atlantic, Mother Jones and many more. Check to see if they carry your favorite newspaper or magazine by clicking here. Updated daily.
  • Search for local news articles about the candidates and issues via the Maine Newsstand (with your PPL card) -an index to and full text coverage of five Maine newspapers: the Bangor Daily News (12/3/92-present), the Kennebec Journal (Augusta) (6/11/93-present), the Portland Press Herald (10/30/95-present), Lewiston Sun Journal (2006-present) and the Central Maine Morning Sentinel (Waterville) (8/12/93-present). Updated daily. Available through MARVEL! Maine’s Virtual Library.
  • Research Voting History - If a candidate is currently in office or previously held office,  you can view the person’s voting history. In order to do this, you need to know information about a piece of legislation the candidate voted on, such as bill name or number. If the candidate served in Congress, you can find voting history by visiting and checking the Major Actions tab on a piece of legislation.
  • Use your PPL card to access library databases including Global Issues in Context (resources explaining the background and viewpoints necessary for understanding global issues, conflicts, and events) and Opposing Viewpoints (an online resource covering today’s hottest social issues).
  • Visit where you can explore topics, conduct a search or even ask questions via chat to a government representative.  Learn about voter registration; researching candidates; tracking fundraising and spending; contributing to the election process; and more.

Note: Neither the librarian who wrote this blog nor the Portland Public Library  is advocating for any political party in writing this article. All resources listed are given as information outlets only.

Voting smart is important. Have questions? Visit your local library!



PPL’s Choice Awards

posted: , by Patti DeLois
tags: Library Collections | Adults | Teens | Kids & Families | Seniors | Art & Culture


It’s Awards Season, culminating in the big Academy Awards ceremony on February 28th.

In keeping with the season, we at the Portland Public Library have put on our finest clothes, walked the orange carpet, and selected a few of our own favorites to receive the following awards:

Presenter: Elizabeth Hrickman


Winner: This award is presented posthumously to Alan Rickman. RIP


Presenter: Patti


Winner: The Madness of King George

This movie won three BAFTA awards (the British equivalent of the Oscars) including Best Picture and Best Actor (Nigel Hawthorne as King George.) Videoport owned this as part of their collection, and soon it will be circulating at the Library.


Presenter: Thaddeus


Winner: “My prestigious award for “Best Thing In a Box” is from the 2008 movie Se7en, with Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman. Pitt plays Detective Mills, a brash, passionate crimesolver who is roped into working on a serial se7enkiller case with weeks-from-retirement Detective Somerset, played by Freeman. Someone is killing people who have committed the Seven Deadly Sins, and is always one step ahead of Mills and Somerset as they follow his clues to an ultimate, gut-wrenching showdown. The brilliant movie is full of twists and turns and an intensity that has been lost on more modern thrillers, and comes to a heart-stopping climax when Mills, near the end of his sanity, screams to Somerset “What’s in the box?!” that the killer had delivered right to their feet. And what is in the box? Why, the winner of my award.”



Presenter: Mary

Category: DOGS

“The international film critics got it right when they began to award The Palm Dog Award during the Cannes Film trampFestival.  Begun in 2001, this award goes to the best performance by a canine (live or animated.)  Look at all of the great performances that came before that date!”


BEST PERFORMANCE BY A CANINE (live): Nikki in Nikki, Wild Dog of the North

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A CANINE (animated):  Tramp in Lady and the Tramp

BEST DOG FILM (comedy):  Best in Show

BEST DOG FILM (drama):  Greyfriars Bobby


Truman ShowPresenter: Hazel


Winner: The Truman Show




skeleton-twins-dvd-cover-50Presenter: Patti


Winners: Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig in The Skeleton Twins



Presenter: Kelley


Winner: Der Himmel über Berlin (Wings of Desire)

As a Teen Librarian, I have heard many an adult dismiss works of young adult fiction without having read them. My hackles go up, my feathers get ruffled - how can you criticize something you haven’t taken the time to experience? So, it is with just a tiny bit of shame that I say to you that I have never and will never watch the movie City of Angles starring Nicholaswings of desire Cage and Meg Ryan BECAUSE IT SHOULD NOT EXIST. There should be a law about remaking films this good. You know you agree with me.

I have an undergraduate degree in German (long story). In 2001, I was going to school in Berlin, and there was a movie theater in the center of the city that played Wings of Desire on a continuous loop throughout the day. This made total sense since the film was shot in Berlin just a few short years before the Wall came down, and captures a divided city in flux and decay. What an amazing experience it was for me to (1) skip school and sit alone in a dark theater watching this masterpiece, and (2) then be able to walk through the historic and changed city I saw so beautifully captured on film.

One of my favorite scenes shows an elderly gentlemen, Homer, wandering through a deserted field on the site of Potsdamer Platz near the Brandenburg Gate. In 2001, Potsdamer Platz was once again a thriving, modern business and shopping center. In the film, it is an abandoned wasteland around the Wall. Through the medium of his guardian angel, we hear and see Homer’s stream-of-conscious thoughts and memories of this place. This and many other scenes in the film will leave you hollow and aching with the solitude of the human experience.

Bonus awards: as if this film isn’t excellent enough in it’s own right, Wings of Desire wins extra credit for featuring the following: Colombo (Peter Falk), Nick Cave (performing! hot!), a traveling French circus, and the amazing interiors of the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin (State Library), where every reader is watched over by invisible angels.




jaguar hearsePresenter: Raminta
Category: BEST CAR
Winner: The 1965 Jaguar XK-E hearse in Harold and Maude
“The car was a first in its stylishness and form, despite being dropped off a cliff.While these types of car mash-ups were happening across the globe, no movie has done it in a way with such class and style. Sadly the car truly was one of kind and was actually destroyed during filming.This car paved the way for all other car mash-ups including the whole fleet of mash-up cars in Mad Max: Fury Road, all of which had multiple clones as the cars kept getting destroyed during that movie’s filming.”



Presenter: PattiJulie and Julia


Winner:  Meryl Streep as Julia Child in Julie and Julia




United 93 Presenter: Patti


Winner: United 93

Paul Greengrass directed this account of the ill-fated flight of United 93, using people who were actually working at the National Air Traffic Control Center to reenact events as they happened. On the plane, there are no recognizable stars to root for, just ordinary-looking people who reenact events as best we can reconstruct them. What makes the film so compelling and heartbreaking is that we in the audience know how it will end, and the passengers don’t.


Presenters: Sonya and Patti


Winners: We have a tie!big blue bug

Sonya’s Choice: Big Blue Bug Solutions from Dumb and Dumber



what's love got to do with itPatti’s Choice: The Ramada Inn sign in What’s Love Got to Do With It





 Presenter: PattiFredo


Winner: John Cazale

You remember him as Fredo in The Godfather movies. You remember him from The Deer Hunter, and from Dog Day Afternoon. You remember him because every performance he gave was memorable. His friends remember him in I Knew It Was You.


That’s all for this year’s awards. Thank you to all our presenters, and we’ll see you at the after party.


For the latest Oscar news, click here.

For a list of Oscar winners from the Criterion Collection, click here.


Have You Been Invited to Take the Challenge?

posted: , by Jerri Blatt
tags: Adults | Kids & Families

The Read to ME Challenge is a public awareness campaign to promote childhood literacy in Maine. The Portland Public Library invites you to take the challenge by reading aloud to a child for at least 15 minutes, capturing a photo or video of the event and then posting it on social media using #ReadtoME or #ReadaloudME. The statewide challenge began in the beginning of February with a kick off at the Blaine House – but you still have time to participate!

Why a campaign about reading aloud to children? Research has shown that the single most important activity for building knowledge for their eventual success in reading is reading aloud to children. Reading aloud is important from infancy through high school and perhaps the greatest benefit is that it associates reading and books with warm and pleasant experiences. Parents, caregivers and teachers who read aloud to children are role modeling enthusiasm for reading and books. The more adults read aloud to children, the larger their children’s vocabularies will grow and will allow them to make sense of printed words when they begin to read independently. Reading aloud also introduces children to the language of books – which is different than the language used in our daily conversations. And yet another important reason to read aloud to a child is that it sparks and lets them use their imaginations.


PPL has a strong commitment to early literacy and is a participant in Every Child Ready to Read @ Your Library ® a project of the Association for Library Service to Children and the Public Library Association (divisions of the American Library Association). It is a parent education initiative that stresses that early literacy begins with the primary adult in a child’s life. Developing early literacy skills has a long-term impact on children’s reading achievement and academic success. Early literacy is what children understand about reading and writing before they can actually read and write. Being interested in and enjoying books is key! Reading, playing, talking, singing, and writing are the five practices that stimulate the growth of a child’s brain and make the connections that will become the foundation for reading.

Do you have questions about the types of books that are best to read to children at various ages and stages? Visit the library and the staff at the Sam L. Cohen Children’s Library at the Main Library or the staff at our branches will be happy to help you in making appropriate selections. For early childhood teachers, the Children’s Library offers over 40 different  “totes” – boxes filled with 15-20 books (with many containing puppets and flannel boards children can use to retell the stories) built on common curriculum themes that check out for six weeks.

early literacy room2

The Early Literacy Play Room in the Children’s Library provides a great space to explore and play with your young child. It is stocked with quality toys which are developmentally appropriate for children aged birth-6. It also has handouts to take home, with more suggestions for playing, reading and singing with your child!

Check out all the programs we offer for children! We offer regular story times each week for specific age groups – birth through age 5 as well as a weekly story time in French. We have monthly programs such as creative movement and family yoga. And for children who need a furry, non-judgmental reading buddy, Grace our library reading dog, visits the Children’s Library twice a month.

These are just a sampling of the programs we offer, so check out our Kids & Families page as well as the calendars at your local branch library.

The Read to Me Challenge continues through the beginning of March. Take the challenge today and read to a child. And visit the library to learn and explore the different ways you can promote early literacy with the young children you know.

View Posts by Date:
Filter Posts:
Connect with the Library: